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September 28, 2007

GO CUBS GO!!!

All I have to say tonight is this:

GO CUBS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  NL Central CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(and one teensy weensy side note...the last time they won this, a terrible personal tragedy was ensuing.  This time, it's another bad thing looming - not quite as horrible, but still not fun - so maybe we can change fate this go 'round?  Hmm?  Maybe??????)

In any case, thanks, Cubbies.  Let's go all the way.  This must be the year for all sorts of great new beginnings.

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September 27, 2007

Fingers Crossed!

Hopefully I will have a better update later, but if I can get any more positive energy directed my way by posting this, it will be worth it.

I HAVE AN INTERVIEW THIS AFTERNOON WITH A COLLEGE FOR AN ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR POSITION!!!!

This is the official name for the teaching I am qualified to do.  I have absolutely no idea what it pays, although I know it's much less than teaching as a full time professor, but hopefully it will be enough.  Please let it be enough!  This is really something I could get excited about and enjoy doing.  And something that should fit in perfectly with my family's needs...as long as I get paid! 

I turned in my equipment to my former employer and mailed off my "Separation Agreement" paperwork yesterday.  The final ties were cut.  The same day, I get called for an interview for what I want to do.  Let it be a sign.  Please let it be a sign.

Fingers crossed.  Toes crossed.  Hopefully a better update later.

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September 25, 2007

How To Get Started?

So one thing that has been exciting me is a possible career change into the world of teaching.  It's always been an interest of mine.  Even back in undergraduate years, I tried to transfer over but I would have added some time to my collegiate years, and thought I couldn't afford to do so.   It was a legitimate concern since my costs were being covered 100% by student loans and income from all of my jobs.  Now looking back, I realize I should have just done it when it was 'easy' to do so.  But that's ok.  I knew I needed to make some money to pay off said loans, so that was my motivation - get a degree and get out in the working world.  And really, how is a 20 year old supposed to be sure that their career path is the one they will be happy with the rest of their life?

Long story short, I ended up with a generic degree from my undergrad years, then got interested in IT.  Back in the 90s, it was the place to be.  I liked the continually changing atmosphere and the constant need to learn new technologies.  I decided to go back to school to fill in some of the gaps.  This went well, and I had arrived at a solid career and a great job.

We all know how that changes, don't we?

IT has changed in and of itself.  Nowadays, the economy is different, and cutbacks seem to hit IT pretty hard.  I still like the industry, but now I'm a mom with four young kids being forced to make a decision about my life.  Do I pursue the same thing from which I was just laid off, or do I try something different?  Maybe it is time for a change.  Restless spirit, I can be...always looking for that next great thing.  Perhaps now is the time to pursue the teaching interest.

In my current situation, going back to school to pursue a job teaching elementary or high school isn't going to work.  After all, I'm still paying off my student loans and don't feel inclined to suffer a ton more debt right now.  But college teaching...is that an option?  Is teaching at a junior or a full time college something I am qualified to do?  I think it should be.  I have plenty of experience training, experience in the industry and I have my Master's degree.  I hope it's enough.  The problem is I am not coming up with a whole lot of information on how to apply for such a position.

So anyone reading...does anyone know how to get my foot in the door?

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September 20, 2007

The Time is Now

It's been over a week since I received that life-changing phone call.  While I always had the fear in the back of my mind, nothing could have prepared me for the slam of emotions it entailed.  I was so shaken up by being laid off, that I was physically sick.  I felt like I had extreme morning sickness.  I couldn't eat, had a constant feeling of nausea and a never ending headache.  Add in the fact that I couldn't sleep on top of it and yeah, I was a real barrel of laughs.

Even worse than my physical ailments were my unrelenting thoughts.  I felt betrayed, I felt angry, and worst of all, I felt hopeless.  The thought of starting over was enough to send me praying to the porcelain gods.  I felt that it would never matter how hard you worked or how much you gave of yourself, someone was just going to crap on you anyway.  During this fog, I read something from Jordyn's teacher on why she loved teaching 1st grade.  I'll quote this, because I like it as is: "Where else would the future look as bright as it does amid an energetic group to whom nothing is impossible."  The first time I read it, I scoffed.  Yeah, I used to have that sort of attitude, but now I know all of these poor kids are so misled - the world is an awful place where it's everyone for themselves.

Then I stopped.

I caught myself going down a spiral that I didn't want to be in.  I don't believe the world is terrible, and I don't believe the future is bleak.  It was somewhere in there that my headache started to lift, my nausea subsided and I slept solidly for a few hours in a row.  I woke up Tuesday after having two very vivid work dreams that seemed to mentally cut the ties for me.  I felt better.  Wednesday morning I woke up and realized that I was in a better mood than I'd been in for a long time.  I mean a long time, even still being employed.  It was then, and only then, I was able to update my resume.

As I've said, the company had been going downhill for a long time.  It's a pretty awful feeling knowing that at any moment, the phone could ring and your time would be over.  I've lived with that feeling for a long time now, especially as I've watched friend after friend, great worker after the next, get their terminations.  I thought maybe if I did even more than my share, that I'd be spared.  As long as they were letting me work from home, I'd endure anything.  What right do I have to complain if I could do my work from home?  Deny me training, deny me raises, deny me new opportunities: well, as long as you don't make me go back into the office, it's ok.

That is actually pretty terrible if you think about it.

Why should I think that is all I am worth?  Why would I believe that "working from home" was the end all, be all of my life?  How did I allow myself to become so brainwashed?  I was "home" with the kids, sure, but I was mentally only half here, if that.  I was always thinking about work, on a call, checking my mail, typing up something, whatever.  There was never a clear start and end to my work days, it was just a continual day.  20 hours a week?  Ha.  What a joke.

Now my overwhelming feelings are those of relief, freedom and optimism.  I don't think I would have made a change in my life for a long time as long as I was allowed to work from home.  I would have been 'stuck' in that mindset and there I would stay no matter what was thrown at me.  And I really don't think I would have ever been able to advance my career any further there, in the office or not.  A point had to come to force a change upon me, and the time is now.

My bitterness and anger are gone.  I truly and honestly believe that there is something else out there for me which will be better.  I don't know what it is just yet, but I know that will become clear as the door opens.  I have some ideas, so now is the time to pursue them.  I know everything will be ok, and this is just another stepping stone to the next big adventure.  I'm thankful for the 7 years I had with the previous employer and for the people with which I had the honor of working.  I have made several friends whose friendship will remain regardless of an employment status.

My life is not going to be ruined because of a job.  I feel happiest when I am doing things I enjoy.  I very much enjoy being a mom, but I also enjoy doing other things including being able to provide for my family.  I will find a way to bring in income that I can be excited about again.  The whole world didn't turn to crap, even if a company will tell you it did (which is what they did in order to justify all of the cutbacks).  There is still so much out there, and even things to feel passionate about!  You really do need to enjoy what you are doing.  Life is just to short to do otherwise.  I would have settled because I was content with my situation, but I deserve better than that.  I have never settled on less than great before in my life, so why would I start now?  I know I have four kids, but I also have to be an example for them.  Settling is not in my nature.

So I guess I just needed to have my week and get over the situation.  I am over it, and suddenly the future looks bright again.  Whatever the future holds for me, I'm ready for it.  The time on my clock is NOW.

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September 14, 2007

Unemployment

It's amazing how much your career becomes a part of your personal being.  You may realize that it's there, but you don't fully appreciate how intergral it has become until you lose it.  Personally, I worked very hard for my career, putting myself through college for both my Bachelor's and my Master's degrees.  I left a few positions for the pursuit of someplace better; somewhere I felt I 'fit.'  I had it for a while.  I liked the company, I liked my bosses, I liked my coworkers, and I liked the work itself.  I had established myself and it was enough to sustain me when I had an unexpected change in my life with the pregnancy of my fourth child.  They were able to help me out and keep me on board part time from home.  This was working really well for me, and I thought for them too.  My life was in complete balance.  I felt I was a good mom, around for my children, and also still keeping my foot in the door of my career.  I was still dedicated even though I was not regularly in the office, and put in my share of time and then some.  I felt I was probably under a more scrutinized eye being that I was working from home, so I wanted to make absolutely sure I was still being a good employee.  Things were getting tough for everyone with company changes and cutback after cutback, so I tried hard to ensure that I wouldn't be on the next 'list.'  Even though so many were unhappy and looking for different positions, I was content to remain doing well at my job for as long as I could.

With the impending buyout and two poor quarters in a row, I never felt safe.  I always worried about what I would do if I got the boot, but tried not to let it consume me.  I was trying to enjoy the balance my life was in, and take it day by day.

It's amazing how much it's consuming me now.

For lack of a better word, there is just something in you that dies when you are laid off from your job.  Especially one that you've worked hard at for 7 years.  As much as I am not completely surprised by the news given the state of the company, I still cannot make it hurt less.  I still go from shock to anger to overwhelming grief, almost as bad as if I lost someone.  But then I realize I did just that; I lost that part of myself that I had attached to my career.  I lost that part of me which was providing for my large family.  I lost the part of me always checking my email no matter what time of day or day of the week.  I lost that responsible part of my brain always checking in to make sure things were running ok, or if I had a conference call to jump on.  I've always been working at my house, but now my 'home office' is just a painful reminder of what is gone.  I can't avoid this part of my house as I could avoid going in to an office building.

It's hard.  I will assume that it will get easier with time, but so far it seems that it gets harder each day.  It's always there in my mind, so I have to figure out a way to let that part of me go.  Let it die.  Let it "sever" as the legal documents I have to sign indicate.  Quit thinking I'll wake up and it was all a bad dream.  Quit thinking the phone will ring and they will say it's all been a big mistake.  Quit taking it as a personal insult.  Quit wondering what I could have done differently.  Terminate.

And figure out what I will do next with my life, knowing that it directly affects 5 other people.  Praying that when one door closes, another one opens.  Continue saying my mantra: breathe in, breathe out, move on...

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September 13, 2007

Trying to Breathe

I apologize for the lack of entries lately.  The kids started school, and I've been trying to get a system in order for that.  Haley's 2nd birthday arrived along with Labor Day weekend, so we were celebating that event.  Work got incredibly busy, so I was of course dealing with that as well.  However, this week has been quite different.  Life altering, one might say.  And since it's 2:20 am and I should be sleeping but cannot, I might as well tell you about it.

Monday morning I was coming off of a busy work week.  Last week there was a major hardware failure in a network device for the main customer I was in charge of supporting.  Long story short, there were many hours spent on the phone with the primary network engineer to get the issue resolved.  On our weekly Monday morning call, we discussed the past week's events and were getting ready to confer all was well with the customer.  Before I had a chance to type the email, I received a call from a coworker informing me of some difficult news: the primary network engineer was killed in a train accident over the weekend.  I was very shaken up at this news and informed my coworkers of this tragedy.

Tuesday was my 7th anniversary with my company, and not to mention a 6th anniversary of one of the most difficult days of my life (not commenting on that today).  I was still feeling pretty upset about the news I received on Monday, but that wouldn't be the end of my bad news.

Wednesday morning I arrived back at home after walking the kids to the bus stop.  Before leaving, I read an email from the company president saying there would be 265 new layoffs before the end of the week.  I never feel safe when hearing that news, but was still shocked to get the phone call informing me I was one of them.  There aren't appropriate words to convey how I am still feeling, so I'll leave it up to your imagination.   Perhaps one day when I'm not still tossing and turning at such an hour, I will be more eloquent in describing it.  I've done everything in my power to remain off of that list for 7 years, including still paying for my Master's Degree: of which most people do not even have their Bachelor's (note: I know a degree doesn't mean everything, but come on, I am not a dummy and more than pull my weight).  I've put in so much overtime, lived without a raise for 6 of those years, took paycuts, and didn't complain.  This week, I was worried about the guy losing his life and was trying to figure out a way to help.  Luckily I still have my own life, but the situation I am in now is pretty tough.  I feel like I've been sucker punched when I was already vulnerable.  And the 'best' part?  They sent some code to my PERSONAL phone and wiped it clean...meaning I lost all of my personal pictures, settings, contacts, etc.  Had I known, I could have backed up my personal information from my PERSONAL phone to my media card (all of which I purchased myself of course), but I had no knowledge this would happen.  So much for 7 years of loyalty.

So if you are a regular reader of my blog, I do apologize for my lack of writing lately.  I will pick back up before long...after I figure out what I'm doing with my life and how to support 4 young children.  And after I find a way to sleep well at night once again.  It should be easier...after all, I don't have to worry about my middle of the night work calls any longer, right?

 

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